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English cover
Original titleتفسیر عثمانی , ترجمۂ شیخ الہند
Media typePrint
ISBN978-8172312305 English
LC ClassBP130.4 .U76 2003

Tafseer-e-Usmani or Tarjuma Shaykh al-Hind (Urdu: تفسیر عثمانی , ترجمۂ شیخ الہند) is an Urdu translation and interpretation of the Quran. It was named after its primary author, Mahmud Hasan Deobandi, who began the translation in 1909. Shabbir Ahmad Usmani later joined him to complete the exegesis. The translation has gained recognition and appreciation from Urdu-speaking Muslims due to its scholarly approach and insightful interpretation of the Quranic text. One version of the Urdu translation was published by the Government of Saudi Arabia in 1989 through the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, while a Bengali translation was published by the Government of Bangladesh in 1996 through the Islamic Foundation Bangladesh.[1]


The origin and history of Tafseer-e-Usmani can be traced back to the early 20th century in the Indian subcontinent. The work was initiated by Mahmud Hasan Deobandi, a scholar and leader associated with the Deobandi movement. Mahmud Hasan Deobandi began translating the Quran into Urdu in 1909.[2] During the translation process, Mahmud Hasan Deobandi and some of his colleagues were arrested for their involvement in the Silk Letter Movement, a political movement against British rule in India, and sent to a prison in Malta. Despite being imprisoned, Mahmud Hasan Deobandi continued his work on the translation of the Quran. He utilized his time in Malta to complete the translation, and by 1918, he had finished the task. During his imprisonment, Mahmud Hasan Deobandi also started writing explanatory notes in the text, providing a form of exegesis alongside the translation. Mahmud Hasan Deobandi died on 18 Rabi al-Awal 1338 (Islamic calendar) before completing the entire exegesis.[3] At the time of his death, he had completed the exegesis of An-Nisa, leaving behind an incomplete work. Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, another scholar and disciple of Mahmud Hasan Deobandi, took up the task of continuing and completing the exegesis. Usmani dedicated himself to the completion of Tafseer-e-Usmani. The combined efforts of Mahmud Hasan Deobandi and Shabbir Ahmad Usmani resulted in the completion of Tafseer-e-Usmani, which eventually became recognized as a significant Urdu translation and interpretation of the Quran.[3]


The main objective of Tafseer-e-Usmani is to provide a clear understanding of the Quranic verses and their underlying messages. It employs various methods to achieve this goal. The methodology of Tafseer-e-Usmani, followed by Mahmud Hasan Deobandi and continued by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, is rooted in a classical approach to interpreting the Quran. The following aspects highlight the methodology employed in Tafseer-e-Usmani:

1. Linguistic Analysis: Tafseer-e-Usmani thoroughly analyzes the language used in the Quranic verses. It explores the meanings of words, phrases, and grammatical structures, taking into account the nuances and intricacies of the Arabic language. This linguistic analysis helps in understanding the precise meanings intended by the Quranic text.[3]

2. Contextual Understanding: Tafseer-e-Usmani emphasizes understanding the Quranic verses within their historical and social contexts. It considers the circumstances, events, and customs prevalent during the revelation of specific verses. This contextual understanding provides insights into the intended meanings and implications of the Quranic text.

3. Tafsir al-Quran bi al-Quran: Tafseer-e-Usmani follows the principle of "Tafsir al-Quran bi al-Quran," which means explaining the Quranic verses using other verses from the Quran itself. This approach ensures coherence and consistency in interpretation, as the Quran serves as its own interpreter. Cross-referencing verses helps in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the message.[3]

4. Authentic Sources: Tafseer-e-Usmani relies on authentic and reliable sources of Islamic scholarship. The exegesis draws upon the works of renowned scholars and commentators such as Shah Waliullah Dehlawi and Shah Abdul Qadir. By considering the opinions and insights of respected scholars, Tafseer-e-Usmani aims to present a well-grounded interpretation of the Quran.[3]

5. Resolving Contradictions: Tafseer-e-Usmani addresses apparent contradictions within the Quranic verses. It strives to provide reconciliations and explanations that harmonize different interpretations, ensuring a consistent understanding of the Quran's message. This methodology helps in removing doubts and misconceptions.

6. Jurisprudential Insights: Tafseer-e-Usmani incorporates jurisprudential insights related to the Quranic verses. It explores the legal implications, ethical teachings, and guidance relevant to Islamic law (Sharia). By providing jurisprudential explanations, Tafseer-e-Usmani aids readers in understanding the practical application of the Quranic principles.

7. Coherent Presentation: Tafseer-e-Usmani presents the interpretation of Quranic verses in a coherent and organized manner. It focuses on maintaining a logical flow and clarity in its explanations, ensuring that readers can follow the exegesis without encountering any discontinuity or confusion.


According to Muhammad Wali Razi, Tafseer-e-Usmani possesses several distinctive features that contribute to its significance. These features are as follows:[4]

1. Comprehensive and self-explanatory: Tafseer-e-Usmani provides a comprehensive and self-explanatory explanation and interpretation of Quranic verses. Readers do not need to consult detailed tafsir works as it aims to provide a complete understanding within its own framework.

2. Clear connection between verses: Tafseer-e-Usmani effectively explains the connections (rabt) between different Quranic verses. It ensures a sense of continuity and coherence while studying the Quran, allowing readers to grasp the cohesive message conveyed throughout the text.

3. Resolving apparent contradictions: The exegesis in Tafseer-e-Usmani addresses and elaborates on any apparent contradictions in the Quranic verses. It provides explanations within the proper context, removing misconceptions and doubts from the reader's mind. This characteristic helps reconcile different interpretations and harmonize the message of the Quran.

4. Rational answers to modern doubts: Tafseer-e-Usmani offers satisfactory and rational answers to doubts and confusions that may arise in the minds of modern readers regarding the Quran. It addresses contemporary concerns and provides insights and explanations rooted in Islamic scholarship.

5. Authentic interpretation: When different opinions and interpretations exist among scholars (Mufasirin) regarding specific verses, Tafseer-e-Usmani considers the most authentic explanation based on sound scholarly principles. This approach ensures reliability and accuracy in the interpretation presented.

6. Guidance through potential ambiguities: Tafseer-e-Usmani employs delicate symbols and linguistic expressions to guide readers through potential ambiguities. It anticipates and addresses difficulties that may arise in understanding certain verses, facilitating a clearer comprehension of the Quranic message.

7. Timeless language: The language used in Tafseer-e-Usmani is crafted in a manner that remains accessible and understandable even after the passage of decades. The choice of words and expressions ensures that the language appears contemporary, keeping the interpretation relevant for future generations.



Cover of Thanwi Library version

Tafseer-e-Usmani has been translated into Bengali in several versions. One of the earliest translations was done by Al Quran Academy London in 1996 and was published in 7 volumes. Islamic Foundation Bangladesh also published a 4-volume translation in 1996–1997.[5] A recent publication ceremony was held at Dhaka on 17 August 2022, organized by Thanwi Library, for a translation done by Ghiyasuddin Ahmad.[6]


Tafseer-e-Usmani has been translated into English in various versions. One notable version was published by Idara Impex, India, and was translated by Mohammad Ashfaq Ahmad.[7]


Bilal Ahmad Wani, a researcher at the University of Kashmir, stated that Tafseer-e-Usmani contains an ocean of knowledge. It effectively refutes the suspicions raised by Mirzais and irreligious sects, which was of great importance during that time. The events mentioned in this Tafsir are sourced from authentic references. The most significant feature of this Tafsir is its rejection of Israli'iat not only by omission but also through argumentation. Fazlur Rahman Laskar, a PhD scholar from the Gauhati University, stated that among Urdu tafsir literature, Tafseer-e-Usmani occupies the highest rank in several fields. This work is incomparable in terms of sense, rhetoric, eloquence, and intellectual depth.[8]

Yusuf Banuri, while discussing several books of Tafsir and some concise works in the same field, provides a brief overview of the qualities inherent in this particular work. Those who seek to comprehend the profound meaning of the Quranic verses in the Urdu language, articulated with utmost eloquence and within the shortest span of time, are encouraged to delve into this Tafsir.[9] Ashraf Ali Thanwi, the teacher of Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, expressed his admiration for this book to Usmani during the final days of his life, using the following words: "I have already donated all the books I owned to the library as an endowment. However, I have retained two books that hold a special place in my heart, and one of them is your Tafsir."[9] Hussain Ahmed Madani also expressed his thoughts, stating, "Without a doubt, Usmani has skillfully condensed vast volumes of Tafsir into a concise work, akin to fitting an entire ocean into a water bag."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Siddiqui, K.S. (25 December 2018). "Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (RA) and his famous Tafseer". Daily Inqilab. Archived from the original on 7 May 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  2. ^ Wani, Bilal Ahmad (2012). Contribution of Darul Ulum Deoband to the Development of Tafsir (PDF) (MA thesis). Srinagar, India: Shah-i-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir. p. 84.
  3. ^ a b c d e Wani 2012, p. 85.
  4. ^ Wani 2012, p. 86–87.
  5. ^ Ullah, Sakhawat (26 July 2019). "Sequence of Quran translation in Bengali language". Kaler Kantho. Archived from the original on 5 October 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Discussion meeting on the occasion of the publication of Tafseer Usmani". Daily Shomoyer Alo. 17 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Tafseer-e-Usmani (The Noble Qur'an): Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani". kitaabun.com. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  8. ^ Laskar, Md Fazlur Rahman (1998). Life and works of Allama Shabbir Ahmed Uthmani (PhD thesis). India: Department of Arabic, Gauhati University. p. 123. hdl:10603/67545.
  9. ^ a b c Kajee, Imraan; Kajee, Moosa (2018). The legacy of the Ulama of Deoband. South Africa: Spiritual Light. pp. 30–31. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2023.

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